Leaders for Equality

Managers taking opportunities

Do you want to increase the number of women in management positions in your company? Are you looking to implement concrete measures to ensure gender equity in the workplace? Do you want to encourage ethical leadership by the male leaders in your organization?

Our project "Leaders for Equality: Leaders taking opportunities" offers you information and solutions in the form of intervention options. Our goal is to help companies to support and engage more male leaders in gender equality issues. In cooperation with our project companies, we have gained remarkable insights and developed innovative measures, which are now available for interested companies, managers and gender equality officers:

Find out about motivations, obstacles and activities from our research on men and gender equality – and thus gain previously unknown insights into the gender equality engagement of male managers.

Do men have any experience with gender equality? Yes they do! Our video interviews with male leaders invite you to reflect and emulate.

Use our animated videos to initiate gender dialogues in your company.

With Gender Inclusive Leadership Practices, you can contribute to shaping equality in your everyday professional life. It is all about developing the gender equality culture in your company -- demanding fairness when necessary, promoting and supporting women, and facilitating work-life integration for both managers and employees.

Would you like to explore the exciting world of organisational change? Then feel free to browse through our blog. Here, you will find theoretically sound, effective contributions to our project results, plus our conclusions and intervention ideas.

Women in leadership positions sometimes face special challenges.  We can help you develop work practices that are more balanced and stable, promote well-being and are more psychologically sustainable.

We can help you and your company to commit male leaders to promoting gender equality. Please let us inspire you.

Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.  And if you subscribe to our newsletter, you will always be up to date regarding gender equality issues. Of course, we are also happy to be at your disposal in person.


Project companies

As part of the project, we are working with Swiss companies to develop, test and strengthen strategies to include male managers.

Feller AG + Schneider Electric (Switzerland) AG
Feller Logo       Schneider Logo
 
Feller AG is the leading Swiss technology partner in the electrical installation industry. Anyone living in Switzerland knows our switches and sockets. Timeless in design and of the highest quality, they accompany people throughout their lives. We have been developing and producing top-quality products in Horgen for over 100 years and are a renowned employer in the Lake Zurich region. Our core business is complemented by innovative electronic products and system solutions in building automation as well as home networks and electrical distribution. Around 420 employees work to achieve this every day.
 
Feller is part of Schneider Electric, one of the world's leading specialists for digital transformation in energy management and automation. Schneider Electric offers intelligent solutions for the private household, building technology and data centre sectors, infrastructure providers and industry. With more than 140,000 employees and operations in over 100 countries, Schneider Electric is a global leader in medium and low voltage energy management, and in secure power and automation. We offer integrated efficiency solutions that seamlessly combine energy, automation and software.

In Switzerland, the Schneider Electric Group includes the companies Schneider Electric (Schweiz) AG and Feller AG and the technology brands APC and Gutor Electronic – employing more than 1,000 people in total.


 

"One of our values at Schneider Electric is "Embrace difference – diversity makes us". We stand 100% for integration. Discrimination is not tolerated at our company. We believe in equal opportunities for everyone, everywhere. We see gender- and age-mixed teams as an important success factor for our company. That is why we actively promote the further development of female staff. With our global Flex@Work policy we also offer very good conditions for reconciling professional and private life. We are on board with the study because increasing the proportion of women is an ongoing challenge for us as a technology company. We want to exploit all reasonable opportunities in this regard. We expect the study to provide us with new starting points and ideas, also through the involvement of our managers, on how we can move forward there together."


Dr. Rasmus Oertel, HR Director, Schneider Electric Switzerland
Helvetia Insurance

Helvetia Logo EN

Helvetia Insurance, headquartered in St.Gallen, has grown into a successful, internationally active insurance group over the past 160 years. Today, Helvetia is the leading Swiss all-line insurer in Switzerland. Over 6,500 employees provide services to more than 5 million customers every day.


"Helvetia respects and promotes the diversity and uniqueness of its employees. The different views lead to positive interactions and innovative ideas. We are convinced that with gender-diverse management, we can strengthen Helvetia as an agile, customer-centric, innovative company and thereby achieve the goals we have set. That is why we want to increase the number of women in management positions. We hope that the study will provide us with concrete starting points on how we can mobilise managers and thus advance the diversity scenario together."

 

Hans-Caspar Schegg, Head HR Business Partner International and
Manuela Bärtsch Forster, Diversity& Inclusion Responsible

Genossenschaft Migros Ostschweiz
Migros Ostschweiz Logo

The Migros Ostschweiz cooperative is one of the largest ten regional cooperatives in the Migros Group. It has its headquarters in Gossau SG. Its economic area comprises the cantons of SG, AI, AR, TG, GR, SH and ZH as well as the Principality of Liechtenstein. The company operates very successfully in the areas of supermarket, specialist retailer and gastronomy as well as in the education and leisure sectors. It employs around 10,000 people, including over 90 nationalities.


 

"With women making up around 63% of the total workforce, Migros is definitely "female-friendly". At the same time, the proportion of women in management positions is significantly lower – and even decreases with increasing hierarchical levels. Moreover, this is despite the equal opportunities stipulated in the Migros Group's national collective labour agreement and despite measures to improve the compatibility of work and family. Migros Ostschweiz aims to significantly increase the proportion of women in management positions at all management levels. That is why the "Leaders for Equality" project of the University of St.Gallen is very relevant for us. We hope to see concrete measures to achieve this objective. The project's underlying approach of consciously and specifically using male managers as supporters already looks promising in this regard."

René Frei, Leiter Direktion Personelles
Fabienne Wullschleger, Leiterin Betriebliches Gesundheitsmanagement / Mitarbeitendenberatung
Schweizerische Bundesbahnen SBB

SBB Logo

SBB is the backbone of the Swiss public transport system, and our daily rail operations are our foundation. SBB has been transporting people and goods for over 100 years. We make an essential contribution to the quality of life and competitiveness of Switzerland. We want to continue this success story while the entire economy and society, and the mobility sector are undergoing profound changes. In this way, we will continue to assume our responsibility for public transport and Switzerland in the future. We bring more than 1.25 million passengers and 205,000 tonnes of goods to their destinations every day. However, we are more than just the railway: 32,300 passionate employees make us the backbone of public transport. They work with us on our vision for future mobility. Welcome to SBB.

 

"Genuine and lived equal opportunities require full gender inclusion. In a joint discourse, the different genders are called upon to seek solutions. At SBB, the focus in recent years has been on promoting women to increase the persistently low proportion of women. Change has remained modest. The St Gallen project will be successful for us if it can show us what are the levers and opportunities that can help equalise opportunities for all genders to contribute to the company's success."

 

Advisory board


A five-member advisory board of experts accompanies the project.

 

 

Expert Advisory Board

Members of the advisory board are:



Jürg Eggenberger Photo

Jürg Eggenberger
Executive Director Schweizer Kaderorganisation (SKO)

Jürg Eggenberger studied economics at the University of Zurich and has a Master's degree in Services Marketing and Management and also further training in organisational development. He has been Executive Director of the Swiss Management Organisation SKO (www.sko.ch) and a member of the Board of Trustees of the sfb Education Centre since 2013. Previously, he was Rector of Kalaidos University of Applied Sciences and served in executive management functions and on the boards of directors and foundations of various industries. He co-authored the practice-oriented reference book "Flexible Workforce  Fit for the Challenges of the Modern World of Work?".

"Why am I taking part? Firstly, the SKO wants to support goals, projects and measures to achieve real equality between men and women. Secondly, the proportion of women at the management level in Switzerland is still stagnating despite many initiatives. Compared to EU countries, Switzerland has one of the lowest percentages of women in management positions. It cannot be due to the leadership quality of women that the proportion of women in management positions remains weak. It has long been known from research that mixed-gender teams increase the quality of decision-making and ensure more creativity and innovation, and better reflect market needs. It also makes sense for demographic reasons to increase the number of women in the labour market.
The advancement of women affects men. Males may feel threatened because thought patterns are being broken and behaviour patterns are being questioned. Their inclusion in support programmes has been inadequate up to now. Men must realise what the added value of women’s advancement is for the company and realise that they, as those affected, should be able to support these measures. The project aims to cover this gap."


Andy Keel Portrait


Andy Keel, MSc, BA
Founder of Gender Diversity Consulting Do-it-smart and owner of the Teilzeit AG 

Over 10 years of experience in the strategic anchoring and operational implementation of flex work and gender diversity in medium and large companies.

«The Teilzeitmann (the part-time man) campaign has so far succeeded in attracting over 100,000 additional men to part-time work. It was naturally a must for me to support the initiators of this critical project with my expertise»



Betina Balitzki

Betina Balitzki
 

Head of Diversity at Suva

Betina Balitzki is a passionate and highly experienced senior diversity expert with many years of experience within the telecommunications industry. Her various roles – Operations Executive, HR Manager, Product Manager, Area Sales Manager – enable her to ask and answer strategic, intercultural and human questions both comprehensively and with deep understanding.

Her background is in business and languages. She completed her Master's degree in business at the University of The Hague. Various further training, e.g., as Facilitator for Change and Innovation (IDEO) and in Strategies for Female Leadership (IMD) and a degree as HBDI Coach II, help her daily work with people and projects.

Through her many years of responsibility as Head of Diversity at SWISSCOM AG from 2009 to 2015, she built up an extensive Swiss business, politics, and education networks. She was a member of the SWONET foundation board, a Generation CEO sponsor, and also supports various universities' projects on diversity and inclusion.

"In terms of diversity, my passion is for people and opportunities and for enabling maximum use of potential and innovation."

Her mother tongue is German, although English and Dutch have also grown close to her heart. She lives with her husband and children in the centre of the Swiss capital Bern.



Josef Dabernig

Josef Kruckenberg
Product Owner, Drupalista at Liip

Josef works as a consultant for the open-source web technology company Drupal and Scrum, and for other Agile practices at the interface between interdisciplinary teams.

"Equal opportunities and a diverse team are important to me. Over the last few years, I have learned to appreciate working with diverse groups both locally and internationally. I am convinced that our clients and we can only benefit if leadership is distributed regardless of characteristics such as gender or age. I find the question of the extent to which self-organisation and diversity are connected particularly exciting and am therefore very much looking forward to the research results and to a lively exchange in the course of this project."


Seitz Yvonne Advisory Board

Yvonne Seitz
Diversity expert, columnist, member of management board, lecturer as well as HR business partner AXA

Yvonne Seitz built up diversity management at AXA -- the largest Swiss insurance company -- and received various awards, including the Prix Balance and the Prix Egalité. Today she passes on the knowledge she has acquired at various universities and at universities of applied sciences and diversity coaching. In addition, as a columnist for the last five years she has been writing about change in the world of work. In addition, she is active as a foundation and board member. The focus of her work is always on demographic, social and technological change and the associated effects on human resources policy. Previously, Yvonne, who is a mother of two, worked for eight years as an editor, presenter and producer for Swiss television SRF and 3sat. In 2017, Yvonne was voted one of the top 100 women in Switzerland by "Women in Business" magazine.

"Why am I taking part? For me, diversity has always meant bringing together different perspectives. And I am convinced that diversity of perspective leads to more innovation and better - because more comprehensively thought-out - solutions. Unfortunately, diversity is too often reduced to the topic of "women's advancement". However, diversity is much more than that: it includes differences, whereby all sides can benefit from each other. In other words, if diversity works, then 1+1 = 3. In this respect, it is indispensable to include men's voices and to listen carefully to their questions and ideas regarding diversity. This is because the future will demand new ways of thinking from us...and for that, we need women AND men to think along with us."


Diana Kugelmann
Change Management and Communication Expert, HR Manager and Co-Owner of a Start-up Company

Diana Kugelmann studied business administration at the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University and sociology at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. As a consultant, change manager and in the last ten years as HR director and member of the executive board in well-known Swiss SMEs, she guides companies through change and transformation processes in HR settings, and change management, communication and culture change. She also runs an innovative retail concept in Zurich on Europaallee with her husband.

"Why am I taking part? In my professional past I have dealt intensively with the "future of work". From a demographic point of view and due to the shortage of skilled workers, we are increasingly dependent on women in professional life. The fact that women still occupy a relatively small share of management positions, even though they already make up more than half of all university graduates, is incomprehensible to me. However, at the same time, I have met many great men in my professional life who want to treat women and men equally and, in their eyes, are already doing so. Nevertheless, the facts on the subject of equality currently speak a different language. How can we find a solution or a social development that most people want? This challenge can only be successfully mastered, without recriminations, together, by all genders, including men. I think this research project is exactly the right approach, and I am very keen to see its findings.

 

 


Furthermore, the Handelszeitung and Schweizer Kaderorganisation (SKO) are strategic partners in this project.

Handelszeitung

Handelszeitung

The Handelszeitung is the largest business newspaper in Switzerland. Every week it provides its readers with invaluable information on the stock market, careers, investments and management. In addition, the editorial team offers relevant primeurs from the world of business and the research industry and from company stories. Its opinion articles are a liberal compass in everyday economic policy. The Handelszeitung has been in existence since 1861.

"Handelszeitung" has accompanied the topic of "diversity" in business journalistically for many years. The communication of scientific findings leading to more equal opportunities in the business world can be an inspiration for readers."

Stefan Mair, Head of Management Handelszeitung

SwissLeader organisation

The Swiss Management Organisation SKO promotes the interests of managers and of all those who want to advance professionally. With around 11,000 members and company partners, the SKO is the largest non-sector-specific network uniting people with management responsibilities who want to share their knowledge and experience. We promote the exchange and transfer of know-how between committed management personnel -- in person and online - for sustainable leadership and a competitive Switzerland.

As a member, the SKO accompanies you on your career path, keeps you fit to deal with the challenges of a digitalised, globalised and constantly changing world of work, and supports you in your skills development and employability. In addition, members benefit from valuable services such as legal advice and coaching on leadership and career issues, plus regular networking events, guidance, mentoring and targeted training throughout Switzerland.

"More women in leadership positions is a goal of the SKO. In Switzerland, there is little apparent progress in allocating an appropriate range of  upper management positions to women. It is still true that the higher the management level, the lower the proportion of women. Improvement is possible only through targeted cooperation. The more current the topic is - and the more men, in particular, recognise the advantage of balanced gender distribution in management positions and commit themselves to it - the more the concept gains familiarity and thus attractiveness. The SKO is committed to making better use of the potential of women. Diversity, as well as equality and work-life balance in management, are all necessary - for the success of companies, as for the sustainable development of Switzerland as a workplace."

Jürg Eggenberger, Executive Director Swiss Management Organisation

 

The Federal Office for Gender Equality provides financial support to the project «Leaders for Equality» in accordance with the Gender Equality Act.


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